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Murphy's Law Fails Flames in Edmonton
Oilers 3 Flames 2 (OT)

D'Arcy McGrath
March 16, 2006

Funny how much perception can work to disturb reality.

The ultra tight Western Conference features a five point gap between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers heading into tonight's showdown in the provincial capital. Oh sure Calgary has two games in hand to throw into the mix, but the five points was treated like a chasm because of the teams between the two in the West.

Well things got a little tighter.

The Edmonton Oilers used two very fortuitous late game bounces to turn a 2-1 deficit into a very key 3-2 overtime victory, sending many a Vancouver fan into spasms in the process.

On The Line

For the Oilers pretty much everything. With the first place Wings in town on Saturday followed by a three game cage match against the Canucks they needed to get some space in the race for the final few playoffs spots. For the Flames a chance to put some distance between themselves and a divisional opponent, plus get off on the right foot on a key seven game road trip caused by the World Skating Championships hosted in Calgary.

The Flow

Five on five the Calgary Flames looked very good; pressuring the puck down low, a very active cycle all set up by a great forecheck. With any bodies missing on the ice however? Not pretty. Down a man the Flames couldn't even penetrate the Oilers line for much of the night. Shorthanded? The Oilers powerplay looked the old Red Army team playing catch during a practice session. Overall ... a very entertaining back and forth almost playoff jacked hockey game between the two provincial rivals.

Three Stars

1 Jaroslav Spacek.    The last time Spacek saw Calgary he was being tossed out of a Chicago - Calgary encounter for submarining Byron Ritchie. This time he was the Oilers best player offensively, picking up a goal and an assist and a game high six shots on goal.

2 Miikka Kiprusoff.    Miikka Kiprusoff did his part and couldn't be blamed for any of the three that slid past him. Another solid game from the Flames other superstar.

3 Shawn Horcoff.  Scored the game winner in overtime when he jumped past two falling Calgary defencemen and slid the puck through Miikka Kiprusoff.

Big Hit

Steve Staious lowered the boom on Mike Leclerc along the side boards in the Edmonton zone during third period action. The play broke up not only a good Calgary cycle, but it also seemed to move the momentum in the Oilers direction.

Big Save

Dwayne Roloson, in his first home start for the Oilers, got his glove out to nab a Kristian Huselius offering through a screen late in the second period with his club reeling.

The Goat

Once again the Calgary powerplay. The Oilers managed a man advantage marker in six tries while the Flames came up empty on seven attempts, including two late in the third with the game tied and a win clearly in reach. To narrow that down, you could put the horns on Mr. Iginla again who worked hard but was unable to get a whole lot done in this one. 

Mr. Clutch

Chris Pronger. Led everyone in ice tonight and was pretty heads up to get a new stick and turn the play back in overtime on the winner.

Odds and Ends

Lady Luck sure turned a cold shoulder toward the souther chapther in this game. The Oilers tie it when a swept puck hits Robyn Regehr's skate and goes into the net. Jarome Iginla hits a goal post with a few minutes left for the winner. Then in overtime a broken Chris Pronger stick causes Roman Hamrlik to fall, Dion Phaneuf trips over him in the process and Shawn Horcoff walks in alone on Kiprusoff. It doesn't end there ... he doesn't actually shoot but it goes over the line. Add in an early whistle in the second on a Calgary Mike Leclerc powerplay goal and Karma was the first star in this hockey game. ... Speaking of Roman Hamrlik, good to see him back. The Flames once again had two solid defence pairings instead of the one solid duo we've seen in recent games with Rhett Warrener out. However, you sure had to notice just how bad both Hamrlik and Robyn Regehr are at finding an open Phaneuf on the powerplay compared to Andrew Ference when he gets powerplay duty. They'll have to work on that. ... Got to love Ray Ferraro's first period quip "you have to be careful when you take early penalties", he said of Calgary, "they can be a real disadvantage". You think? ... The Lombardi, Kobasew, Simon line was once again the team's best and they were rewarded with the Flame's first goal. ... Another chapter in that interesting Jaret Stoll / Mathew Lombardi tale with both guys scoring tonight. 

Next up The Flames trip continues into Nashville for a game on Saturday.

Lines -

Huselius - Langkow Iginla
Amonte - Yelle McCarty
Simon - Lombardi Kobasew
Leclerc - Nilson - Donovan

Regehr - Leopold
Hamrlik - Phaneuf



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